August 7, 2012
Salt Lake Tribune
Utah drops out of consortium developing Common Core tests
The Utah state school board decided to withdraw from the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, which is developing tests based on the Common Core standards. The change doesn’t necessarily mean Utah can’t still adopt the tests if it wishes, but it will no longer have a strong voice in their development.
GA officials tout strong start for child care ratings system
Since Georgia launched a new ratings system meant to help parents judge the quality of childcare and early education programs, 700 programs and providers have signed on, state officials announced. Georgia’s system—Quality Rated—clearly identifies child care and early education programs that meet a set of standards that go above and beyond the state’s minimum requirements to obtain a license.
La. law boosts, complicates local chiefs’ personnel powers
Louisiana superintendents will have the power to hire and fire teachers without approval of school boards, thanks to recent legislation. But the law may not eliminate cases of micromanagement by school boards because they retain the power to get rid of superintendents with whom they disagree. The law also eliminates some of the oversight capacity that a board can exercise over superintendents and principals.
Federal special ed. ratings fault D.C.—again
For the sixth consecutive year, the District of Columbia has fallen short of meeting federal special education goals, the worst record of any state, according to the Department of Education. The annual reports examine the suspension and expulsion rates of students with disabilities; representation of racial and ethnic groups in special education programs; and how quickly students are evaluated for special education services.
New principal evaluations to focus on leadership, provide more accountability
Florida principals will be evaluated under a new system that holds them more accountable for their students’ achievements. Fifty percent of the evaluation is based on student achievement, deliberate practice, instructional leadership, professional and ethical behavior, and operational leadership. The other 50% is based on school-wide data such as student performance on the state FCAT exam.